Mystery Object

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Mystery object with antique metal candle holder on pine topped table

So, what’s this mystery object? And we don’t mean the candle holder! Try and guess what it is before the last few photos.

Mystery object on pine topped table

We bought it at the weekend from Picture House Antiques. This is obviously quite an old example, but new ones are still being produced. Having said that, the design hasn’t changed much as it does the job perfectly.

Mystery object on pine topped table

It might make one particular little job a lot easier towards the end of July or early August – a foraging type job…

detail of mystery object on pine topped table

…OK, no more clues…

curved dry stone wall with bilberry bushes growing above

…it’s a bilberry comb!

Bilberries (also called whimberries, whinberries, wimberries, winberries, windberries, blaeberries, whortleberries, hurts, myrtle blueberries and fraughans) grow wild round these parts – in fact, local conditions seem perfect as they’re widespread on lanes & hillsides. They’re the most delicious little berries. They’re a bit fiddly to pick individually, but that’s what we’ve always done previously.

bowl of freshly picked bilberries

We’ll look into the pros & cons of this tool – judging by the age of this one, they’re not a recent phenomenon – and are still widely available to buy at country stores. Most people sing their praises, but initial internet searches have thrown up a few dissenting voices.

Their concerns seem to centre around the fact that they’re a bit indiscriminate with regards to picking both ripe & unripe berries – and also their efficiency doesn’t leave much behind for wildlife.

We can’t see the point in harvesting till the majority of berries are ready. With regards to wildlife, some parts of the bush are hard to get to – and some bushes themselves are very inaccessible to people – so there should be plenty left for the birds and small animals. We’ve noticed bush craft & foraging guru, Ray Mears has them for sale on his website.

plate with a slice of bilberry tart and cup of tea

We know one thing… they make superb desserts – warm, home-made bilberry pie with cold, thick cream just can’t be beaten!